Special pleading is an informal fallacy wherein one cites something as an exception to a general or universal principle, without justifying the special exception. It is the application of a double standard.
In the classic distinction among material fallacies, cognitive fallacies, and formal fallacies, special pleading most likely falls within the category of a cognitive fallacy, because it would seem to relate to "lip service", rationalization, and diversion (abandonment of discussion). Special pleading also often resembles the "appeal to" logical fallacies.
In medieval philosophy, it was not presumed that wherever a distinction is claimed, a relevant basis for the distinction should exist and be substantiated. Special pleading subverts a presumption of existential import.[further explanation needed]
A difficult case is when a possible criticism is made relatively immune to investigation. This immunity may take the forms of:
This variation occurs when the interpretation of the relevant statistic is "massaged" by looking for ways to reclassify or requantify data from one portion of results, but not applying the same scrutiny to other categories.
Argument in which the speaker deliberately ignores aspects that are unfavourable to their point of view.
Special Pleading, in which the writer creates a universal principle, then insists that principle does not for some reason apply to the issue at hand.
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[A] form of inconsistency in which the reasoner doesn't apply [their] principles consistently…[T]he fallacy of applying a general principle to various situations but not applying it to a special situation that interests the arguer even though the general principle properly applies to that special situation, too.
Special Pleading: committed by applying a double standard exemplified in choice of words.
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Special Pleading (double standard) - Applying a standard to another that is different from a standard applied to oneself.
The argument defends a position by claiming that the opponent lacks the necessary perspective (experiences or credentials) to appreciate the position (or the arguments in support of it). This lack allegedly makes the opponent unqualified to critique the position... [t]his extreme version of Special Pleading is a tactic often used to argue that no action can be judged morally wrong, since no one has the perspective to be able to judge another person's moral code... [e.g.] 'My opponent can't know what's best for our fair community. He wasn't born and raised here, like I was.'
‘You aren't like me, so you do not even have a right to think about or hold opinions on my plight’... [t]he fallacy of Special Pleading presupposes that some differences are so great that the human capacity of empathy cannot cross them.